Dani Pedrosa is keeping his options for 2008 open, it seems. The young Spaniard, who was widely expected to be the main challenger to Valentino Rossi for the title this season, has had an offer to renew his contract with Repsol Honda for the past month, but he and his management have put a decision on the contract on hold. Pedrosa has been a loyal Honda rider since he first entered GPs in 2001, riding 3 seasons in the 125 class, 2 in 250s, and now into his second season on board a MotoGP bike.
Logic dictates that Pedrosa will eventually sign on once again with Honda for the next two years. After all, there are many rides as good as the Repsol Honda in the MotoGP paddock. But one seat may become vacant next year, a seat which is look particularly attractive just at the moment. Loris Capirossi has made no secret of his displeasure with Ducati, after seeing his young team mate come into the Ducati garage, win 3 of the 5 races so far, and garner all of the attention, and presumably support, of the Ducati team. Capirossi, who has been with the Bologna-based factory since Ducati's return to MotoGP, feels rather betrayed by the lack of support he has received, blaming this for his relatively poor results so far this season. As a consequence, the chances are high that Capirossi could leave the Italian team at the end of the year, either to retire, or, it is whispered, to go and join Kawasaki, who have made major steps forward since the start of the season. Kawasaki are known to be looking for big name riders, to try and attract sponsorship, and regain a spot at the front of the field, and Capirossi could be just what they're looking for.
The one thing standing in the way of Pedrosa joining Ducati is the question of whether the Italian factory want to have an Italian rider in the team. With Casey Stoner in with a very real chance at the title this year, his position is virtually unassailable, which would mean that any vacancy created by the departure of Capirossi would see Italian riders getting preferential treatment. The options for Ducati would seem to be Marco Melandri, or possibly either Andrea Dovizioso or Alex de Angelis, if they move up from 250s, leaving Dani Pedrosa out in the cold.
The source of this story is fairly circumlocutory: It came here via the Spanish daily sports paper AS.com's website, which quotes the Spanish magazine Solo Moto, which is known to have outstanding contacts inside the MotoGP padddoc.
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